November 12, 2020

Is the pandemic making you rethink your commute? In this episode of HBR’s advice podcast, Dear HBR:, cohosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn answer your questions with the help of Ashley Whillans, a professor at Harvard Business School and the author of the new book Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life. They talk through what to do when you want to work remotely but your company is against it, you’re considering a new job closer to home, or you’ve been offered a job that’s a great fit but comes with a longer commute.

Listen to more episodes and find out how to subscribe on the Dear HBR: page. Email your questions about your workplace dilemmas to Dan and Alison at [email protected]

From Alison and Dan’s reading list for this episode:

HBR: Our Work-from-Anywhere Future by Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury — “Before 2020 a movement was brewing within knowledge-work organizations. Personal technology and digital connectivity had advanced so far and so fast that people had begun to ask, ‘Do we really need to be together, in an office, to do our work?’ We got our answer during the pandemic lockdowns. We learned that a great many of us don’t in fact need to be colocated with colleagues on-site to do our jobs. Individuals, teams, entire workforces, can perform well while being entirely distributed—and they have.”

Book: Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life by Ashley Whillans — “It’s not our fault we’ve ended up like this. Culturally, the inherent value of time has been suppressed. Society teaches us that we should hero-worship people who never leave the office. Moreover, rising income inequality makes us feel as if our world could collapse tomorrow if we don’t spend every moment working, or at least appearing to work. These factors create what I call time traps, which lead most of us to feel chronically time-poor.”

HBR: Reclaim Your Commute by Francesca Gino, Bradley Staats, Jon M. Jachimowicz, Julia Lee, and Jochen I. Menges — “Most people who have long commutes feel like helpless victims enduring a necessary evil. As a result, they arrive at their jobs and homes depleted, and their performance and well-being suffer. But it is possible to improve your commute by turning it into a more positive experience and, when possible, reducing it.”

HBR: Get More Done During Your Commute by Peter Bregman — “Then, during your evening commute, think back through your day hour by hour and glean wisdom and connection from it. How did the day go? What worked? What didn’t? What do you want to do the same – or differently – tomorrow? With whom can you share feedback? Who should you thank? What happened today for which you can feel grateful?”

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